Scenarios, Adaptive, Drag-and-Drop, It Doesn’t Matter! The Effective Use of Feedback for Online Formative Activities

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Do you need to write feedback when creating highly interactive learning activities? Come see real-world use cases of formative activities that a competency-based university implements across disciplines. In this interactive session, you will take away practical instructional strategies that you can use to create meaningful feedback for online formative activities.

Sponsored By


Samantha Coen is a Program Architect at Western Governors University. She has 11 years of experience in online course design and development as an instructional designer in both higher education and corporate settings. Samantha has proven experience in designing online programs, creating interactive learning environments, and implementing adaptive learning solutions. She holds an MS in instructional design and is presently a doctoral candidate specializing in instructional design for online learning.

Extended Abstract

An effective learning experience is not all about using the latest technology, it is about providing an authentic learning environment with useful learning feedback. Given the acceleration of technologies and number of solutions available to online course designers and developers, it is imperative that proven theories, models, and methods are used to ensure learners have a meaningful learning experience. 

The education session will present attendees with real-world use cases of outcome-driven formative activities that were designed, developed, and implemented by a competency-based institution of higher education. This is a rich representation of knowledge-in-practice as the use-cases are presently live in online courses across higher education disciplines. Theoretical foundations and instructional strategies will also be shared with participants.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Define an online, outcome-driven formative activity
  • Identify meaningful online formative activities
  • Write effective instructive and deductive feedback
  • Describe a formative activity that can be used in current practice
  • Plan formative activity creation with subject matter experts

The session will positively contribute to the OLC Accelerate conference and the field as it will provide authentic, data-driven examples of successful outcome driven formative activities. Student engagement and the creation of authentic learning environments is currently a major focus for online course design. The relevance of this session is demonstrated by presenting theoretical-based and data-driven proven solutions of designing instructionally sound online formative activities. Participants will leave the session with practical theoretical knowledge of the effective use of feedback. This knowledge aids in the justification of the instructional strategies and methods participants can use to write instructive and deductive feedback for formative activities in their own online courses. 

Participants will be actively engaged throughout the duration of the presentation by use of answering targeted questions, participating in example formative activities that are used by actual students, responding to live polls, and posting responses that will trigger short discussion. The goal is to have an interactive education session in which the presenters can adapt the presentation based on the participants and their needs. Nearpod, an online interactive presentation tool, will be used in which participants participate by use of any device with access to the internet. There will also be active discussion with the audience in order to accommodate those who do not participate via the interactive presentation. At the end of the session, participants will be provided with a link/QR code that will provide them access to examples, templates, and information sheets based on the key points of the presentation (e.g., decision map to create an outcome-driven activity; formula sheet for writing feedback).

Data from assessment results will be shared with participants to demonstrate evidence of successful learning effectiveness by way of online formative activities. Theory-based instructional design methodologies will be shared based on results from course data. Data-driven results include student engagement, skill-mapping/attempt results, participation, learning outcome evaluation, and activity/question effectiveness